Mama hen attacking her chicks

finster

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 30, 2015
12
0
65
Waterloo, IA
So I have a Buff oprpington who went full on broody. She got herself a clutch of about a dozen eggs and began sitting on them. Normally I break them of this, but this time I decided to let her hatch some chicks. This particular hen is about 15 months old, and may be the 1st time shes been broody. I picked up a few firtile eggs and swapped them out with her clutch without her noticing. I should note that these are bantam eggs. At the time, I didn't think it made a difference. She happily sat on them for the next 21 days. I segregated her in the corner of the coop from the rest of the flock in the nesting box she chose. I gave the other hens new nesting boxes to lay in. Today is day 21. I peeked my head in the coop to check on her and immediately heard peeps. So I watched at a distance and after a long while I saw a chick stick his head out from moms feathers. He ducked back in a sticked his head back out again after several minutes. The second time the hen noticed him and began pecking at him. He ducked back down into her feathers but she stood up off the nest and began chasing this chick, pecking at it mercilessly. I swooped in and scooped him up. After a short time she eventually settled back on to her nest. I held the chick, cupped in my hand out of her view. I tried to slip it back under her without her noticing, and it seemed to work. She remained motionless on her nest with the same blank stare shes held for the past 3 weeks. Soon though the chick began moving around and sticking his head out from under her. She freaked out and attacked him again, chasing it off the nest. I grabbed him and set up a broader box to house him for now. When the hen was off her nest the 2nd time, I got a good look at the eggs. 1 is cracked open and looks like a chick is emerging. I heard him peeping too. The others haven't opened yet.
So my questions;
Will this hen accept her chicks or try and kill them one at a time as they hatch? I'm keeping a close eye on her as the others hatch, but I'd like her to care for them if at all possible. How concerned should I be about the one who hasn't come out of his shell yet? Should I move him now or wait and see how she reacts? I dont want to walk out there to find dead chicks.
Does it make a difference that they're bantams? That's what my friend had that had the firtile eggs.
Here is the one chick I took from her. I think it may be a buff silkie. He had a few of those running around. He seems to be doing well regardless.
 

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oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
44,745
78,157
1,452
Wisconsin
Pull all chicks and brood them yourself. She will probably kill them. I've seen it unfortunately. Some don't understand what chicks are or where they came from.
 

Chezwilli

In the Brooder
Jun 3, 2020
40
23
23
So I have a Buff oprpington who went full on broody. She got herself a clutch of about a dozen eggs and began sitting on them. Normally I break them of this, but this time I decided to let her hatch some chicks. This particular hen is about 15 months old, and may be the 1st time shes been broody. I picked up a few firtile eggs and swapped them out with her clutch without her noticing. I should note that these are bantam eggs. At the time, I didn't think it made a difference. She happily sat on them for the next 21 days. I segregated her in the corner of the coop from the rest of the flock in the nesting box she chose. I gave the other hens new nesting boxes to lay in. Today is day 21. I peeked my head in the coop to check on her and immediately heard peeps. So I watched at a distance and after a long while I saw a chick stick his head out from moms feathers. He ducked back in a sticked his head back out again after several minutes. The second time the hen noticed him and began pecking at him. He ducked back down into her feathers but she stood up off the nest and began chasing this chick, pecking at it mercilessly. I swooped in and scooped him up. After a short time she eventually settled back on to her nest. I held the chick, cupped in my hand out of her view. I tried to slip it back under her without her noticing, and it seemed to work. She remained motionless on her nest with the same blank stare shes held for the past 3 weeks. Soon though the chick began moving around and sticking his head out from under her. She freaked out and attacked him again, chasing it off the nest. I grabbed him and set up a broader box to house him for now. When the hen was off her nest the 2nd time, I got a good look at the eggs. 1 is cracked open and looks like a chick is emerging. I heard him peeping too. The others haven't opened yet.
So my questions;
Will this hen accept her chicks or try and kill them one at a time as they hatch? I'm keeping a close eye on her as the others hatch, but I'd like her to care for them if at all possible. How concerned should I be about the one who hasn't come out of his shell yet? Should I move him now or wait and see how she reacts? I dont want to walk out there to find dead chicks.
Does it make a difference that they're bantams? That's what my friend had that had the firtile eggs.
Here is the one chick I took from her. I think it may be a buff silkie. He had a few of those running around. He seems to be doing well regardless.
I've just had the same problem, almost identical situation, unfortunately I wasn't as quick as you and the chick is very damaged. What did you do with the rest of the eggs, did you keep them with the mother, did she manage to look after them or did you have to brood yourself? I'm trying to work out what to do myself.
 

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